As part of an ongoing war on drugs, in November 2020, Oregon became the first state in the US to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs. The measure, known as Measure 110, was widely praised by drug policy reform advocates as a progressive step that would help to reduce the stigma around drug use and provide people with drug addiction problems with much-needed treatment.

Measure 110 made personal possession of methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, oxycodone, and other drugs punishable by a $100 fine rather than jail time. This was in a bid to reduce incarceration rates and redirect funds toward addiction treatment programs. These treatment programs would be funded through marijuana tax revenue and savings from decreased law enforcement costs.

The Oregon Health Authority, one of many behavioral health resource networks, announced on September 22 that it had completed awarding the first two years of funding to nonprofits under Oregon's decriminalization of drugs law.

According to OHA, the first round of grants totaled $302 million. Despite this milestone, experts warned that more than just services would be needed to curb the high rates of drug use and resulting societal costs in the state. Keith Humphreys told the Oregon lawmakers that the state should adjust its permissive approach as it encourages drug use without any deterrent.

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"Because the West Coast has an individualistic culture with a tolerance for substance abuse, social pressures to seek treatment are often minimal," said Keith Humphreys, the Founder, and co-director at the Stanford Network on Addiction Policy.

"So, on the one hand, we have widely available and highly rewarding drugs. On the other hand, little or no pressure to stop using them. Under those conditions, we should expect to see exactly what Oregon is experiencing: extensive drug use, extensive addiction, and not much treatment seeking."  (Source)

According to Humphreys, people struggling with addiction hardly seek treatment without pressure from loved ones, health care providers, or the law. He says this should be a concern because the state has lifted the legal pressure to stop substance abuse and seek treatment. Besides, since many people who struggle with use don't work or keep in touch with loved ones, the pressure to quit might not come from those sources, either. (Source)

M110 allows the law authorities to write $100 tickets for personal possession of small amounts of drugs, and the charged person can just call the Life helpline line and have their ticket removed. It all seems very easy to get away with abusing drugs.

But despite that, many people who are issued these tickets still ignore them, according to Dr. Todd Korthuis, the head of addiction medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. By the end of this summer, 3000 tickets were issued, and only 137 calls were made. Even more disturbing is that most callers were not seeking treatment but only screening for legal reasons. (Source)

Good Intentions Behind the Law

The Oregon voters voted in favor of Measure 110, which decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs and redirected 110 funds from law enforcement to addiction treatment. The measure was designed to address the state's public health crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to proponents of the measure, it would help to reduce the number of those incarcerated for drug-related offenses and redirect funds to much-needed addiction treatment programs. In addition, by decriminalizing drug possession, the measure will help to reduce the stigma associated with addiction and make it more likely that people will seek treatment. 

When the voters passed the ballot measure, they recognized drug addiction and overdoses are a serious problem in Oregon; and that the state needed to increase access to drug treatment. The health-based approach to drug use problems is not only more humane but also effective and cheaper than criminal punishments. Making people criminals because they abuse drugs or struggle with addiction is costly and life-ruining, making it hard to seek treatment. 

On February 1, 2021, the laws regulating controlled substances' possession changed from felonies to Class E violations. Measure 110 is designed to ensure that anyone who wants access, assessment, treatment, and recovery services for substance use gets it.

By all accounts, Measure 110 was set to reduce the pressure on drug users seeking treatment or help. However, going by statistics, it seems to be failing because Oregon has a nearly 20% surge in overdose deaths in the year that ended in April 2022. And according to Dr. Tod Korthuis, Oregon has one of the highest rates of substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Conversely, it ranks the least for access to treatments in the nation.

Humphreys and Korthuis don't fault Measure 110 for the spiking overdose deaths and other drug-related issues. However, they believe these trends have outpaced the state's addiction treatment system.

What Needs to Be Done

Measure 110 is the first of its kind in the United States. The only other country that has tried it successfully is Portugal, which is often cited as an inspiration. Initially, the country had harsh policies led by the criminal justice system. It needed to try something else. So, in 2001, Portugal took a radical step and became the first country globally to decriminalize the consumption of all drugs. 

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Speaking about what needs to be done, Humphreys mentioned that Portugal puts heavy legal and social pressure on those abusing drugs to get help. And despite the decriminalization of drugs, one can hardly see people openly using or dealing drugs, as in West Coast cities of the US. That's because they close operations and use court pressure to lead them into treatment. 

"I have spent a lot of time in Portugal, and I know the people who designed their policy," Humphreys said. "Please take it from me; Oregon is not following Portugal's example and will not get its results." (Source)

Humphreys further mentioned the need for harm reduction, which emphasizes engaging directly with addicts to prevent overdose, and transmission of infectious disease, improve physical, social, and mental well-being and offer low-threshold options for accessing addiction treatment and other health care. He recommended solutions like making Naloxone (opioid antagonist) more available to reduce overdose deaths. 

Poverty is one of the most significant predictors of drug abuse and addiction. Individuals who live in poverty are more likely to turn to drugs to cope with the stress and challenges of their lives. At the same time, drug abuse can lead to further poverty, chronic illness, and mental health problems.

2019 study found that most opioid overdose cases across 17 states were concentrated in zip codes with lower education and median household income as well as higher rates of unemployment and poverty. Another UNODC study dubbed Socioeconomic Characteristics and Drug Use Disorders found that those who belong to disadvantaged groups had the highest relative level of risk of suffering from an addiction. This could be due to homelessness, social exclusion and inequality, and mental health problems that are also synonymous with poverty.

While poverty is not the only factor for substance abuse in the United States, it is certainly important. People living in poverty are more likely to be predisposed to risk factors linked to higher rates of substance abuse. They may also live in poverty-stricken areas often home to illegal drug activity, making drugs more accessible.

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The link between poverty and drug abuse

The link between poverty and drug abuse is complex and multi-layered. Poverty can both lead to drug abuse and be a consequence of it.

How Poverty Leads to Drug Abuse

There are several ways that poverty increases the likelihood of drug abuse. For example, people who grow up in poverty may be more likely to associate with others who use drugs, making them more likely to develop a substance abuse problem. Biological factors are also at play, as people who live in poverty are more likely to experience chronic stress, which can alter brain chemistry and make someone more vulnerable to addiction. Financial issues can be a leading source of stress for many younger adults.

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Here's a quick look at some of the ways poverty can contribute to drug abuse:

How Drug Abuse Can Lead to Poverty

Poverty and drug abuse often go hand-in-hand. Drug use can also lead to poverty in different ways.

  1. First, they can interfere with a person's ability to maintain steady employment. Many employers require drug tests as a condition of employment, and those who use drugs are more likely to lose their jobs or be less productive at work. This can lead to a downward spiral in which someone is unable to keep up with bills or support their family, eventually leading to poverty.
  2. Second, drugs can be expensive. Those who abuse drugs often spend large amounts of money on them, which can strain finances and lead to debt.
  3. Finally, drugs can lead to criminal activity. Those addicted to drugs may resort to stealing or selling drugs to get the money they need to support their habit. This can lead to a criminal record, making it difficult to find stable housing or employment, further exacerbating poverty.
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Promoting Recovery by Treating the Root Causes of Addiction

Individuals struggling with addiction often need help addressing the underlying causes of their drug abuse. This may include treatment for addiction and mental health problems. Treatment facilities should also address underlying issues causing the addiction. This includes things like providing:

Treating the root causes of addiction gives individuals a better chance of achieving long-term recovery. This, in turn, can help break the cycle of poverty and addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to those who need them.

There's no denying that drugs and music have always had a close relationship. For many people, using drugs is a way to enhance their musical experience, whether it's dancing all night at a club or losing themselves in an eclectic mix at a festival. However, it's worth noting that not all music fans use drugs, and many live performances are perfectly enjoyable without any chemical assistance.

Nevertheless, it's undeniable that drugs have played a major role in music history, especially when it comes to large live performances. Artists such as Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead were known for their elaborate stage shows, often designed to be experienced while under the influence of drugs.

In recent years, electronic dance music has become closely associated with drug use, with festivals like Tomorrowland and Ultra becoming known as hotbeds of illicit activity.

What Are Music Concert Visuals?

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Music concerts are a visual feast for the senses, with bright lights, flashing colors, and dizzying patterns. But have you ever wondered where these visuals come from? It turns out that many of them are inspired by drug use.

For example, the trippy patterns used in concert visuals are similar to those experienced during an acid trip. And the flashing lights can mimic the effects of strobing lights on a dance floor. By creating visuals that are reminiscent of drug-induced states, concertgoers can feel like they're experiencing the music in a whole new way.

The Link Between Drugs and Music

Music and drugs have been linked together for centuries. In the early days, people commonly used psychoactive drugs to enhance their music experience. Drugs like alcohol and tobacco were used to relax and improve the taste of music. Amphetamines were also common, with rock and roll artists like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis relying on them for their wild onstage antics.

In more recent times, illegal drugs like LSD and MDMA have been used by people searching for a more intense musical experience. Some claim that these drugs can help them appreciate music in a whole new way, while others enjoy the heightened sensations and feelings of euphoria that they can produce.

Music, in turn, has always been a part of the drug culture in the United States. Many drugs, especially psychedelics, are associated with specific genres of music, such as acid house or trance. For many people, taking drugs is an integral part of the musical experience, as it can help them feel more connected to the music and other people. Drug use can also be seen as rebelling against society's norms and expectations.

Besides, many musicians have experimented with alcohol or drugs in an attempt to improve their creativity. Some believe that substances can help open up the mind and allow new ideas to flow. However, it is worth noting that many successful musicians have composed great songs without resorting to drugs or alcohol.

Music, Drug Use, and Addiction

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There's also a close link between music and substance use disorders. In some cases, people may use drugs to enhance their experience of listening to music. But in others, the connection between music and partying can lead to drug use or addiction or trigger mental disorders that cause them to turn to drugs to cope.

One of the most common drugs used at parties is MDMA, also known as "ecstasy" or "molly." MDMA is a stimulant that can cause feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and pleasure. It can also increase heart rate and blood pressure, dehydration, and anxiety.

When taken in large doses or combined with other drugs, MDMA can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Since MDMA is often used at all-night parties or nightclubs, people who use the drug may not get enough sleep, leading to fatigue, irritability, and memory problems. Long-term use of MDMA can also cause withdrawal symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.

For people struggling with addiction, the connection between drugs and music can be dangerous. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, party settings are risk factors for relapse, as they trigger cravings. At the same time, listening to music can make it harder to resist the urge to use drugs. The National Institutes on drug use research indicates that relapses are common, happening in 40-60% of the cases.

Music Concert Visuals and Drug Use

Many people who attend live music performances are using drugs. According to research by DrugAbuse.com, 57% of people admitted to using drugs or alcohol, with 93% consuming alcoholic beverages. Additionally, about 40% used marijuana at live music events, followed by 8% who used hallucinogens or MDMA (Molly or ecstasy).

Large live music performances often incorporate heavy visuals into their shows, expecting that many crowd members will be under the influence of drugs. These visuals help to:

  1. Create a more immersive experience: Heavy visuals can help create a more immersive experience for the audience, making them feel like they are part of the performance.
  2. Engage the audience: Heavy visuals can also help to engage the audience, keeping them involved in the performance.
  3. Add excitement: Heavy visuals can add excitement to a performance, making it more enjoyable for the audience.
  4. Create a memorable experience: Heavy visuals can help create a memorable experience for the audience, one they will remember long after the performance is over.

Many drugs cause users to experience sensory overload, and the introduction of visual elements can help ground them and prevent them from becoming overwhelmed.

Besides, drugs can alter perception and make it difficult to process complex information. As a result, simpler visual images are more likely to be comprehended by those under the influence. Also, bright colors and patterns can be more stimulating and enjoyable for people on drugs.

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Stay Sober Throughout the Show

Going to a live music performance can be an incredibly exhilarating experience. Whether you're seeing your favorite band or exploring a new genre, there's nothing quite like being in a room full of people who share the same love of music. But you may worry about being around others who might be using drugs. While it is true that many concerts do use heavy visuals that can be enhanced by drug use, there are ways to enjoy the show while remaining sober.

Addiction Treatment

When most people think of drug addiction, they picture someone using illegal drugs like meth or heroin over prolonged periods of time. However, addiction can happen after a few tries and involve any drugs, including legal ones like alcohol and prescription medications.

Drug use is often glamorized in the media, especially in music. Concerts, in particular, can be a breeding ground for drug use.

Many people view drug use as a harmless way to have fun and let loose. However, drug use comes with serious risks. In addition to the risk of addiction, drugs can also lead to mental and physical health problems.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, resources are available to help. Rehab facilities offer vast treatments for drug addiction, including detox, in-patient and outpatient care, and therapies. The Institutes of Health also recommends getting support from friends, family members and support groups.

Alcohol is legal and readily available in restaurants, grocery stores, sports games, and clubs. It is also widely advertised. Anyone 21 years or older can walk into a bar and grab wine, liquor, or beer in America. As long as they don’t drink in public places like vehicles, sidewalks, and parks, they’re good to go. Alcohol does not carry the same stigma as other drugs. So why is alcohol a socially more acceptable addiction in our society?

Many people consider alcohol a necessary element for relaxing or having a good time. They drink to celebrate, commiserate or wind up after a long day at work. In fact, society itself encourages alcohol as a way of life with phrases like “one for the road” or “relax with a glass of wine.” Some churches even drink wine during religious customs like Eucharist.

Drinking is socially acceptable. Sadly, the prevalence has seen many people desensitized to the harmful effects of alcoholic beverages. People have and will continue to normalize drinking alcohol in a way that would never be tolerated with other drugs.

How society treats alcohol differently than other addictive substances

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Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that creates euphoria and relaxation. It does not carry the stigma of other drugs like cocaine or marijuana, yet a 2010 study shows that it is the world’s most dangerous drug when considering the harm it does to drinkers, along with their loved ones. To this end, it is more harmful than crack cocaine and heroin.

There has been lots of media commentary on the binge drinking culture of young Americans and the need to sensitize people on the dangers of alcohol. But different theories and models about health beliefs, drinking cultures, and behavioral change suggest that this alone might not work. The increasing liberalization of alcohol normalizes drinking, and use becomes engrained in the daily fabric of life.

Reasons Alcohol Is a Socially Acceptable Addiction

Despite the dangers mentioned above, people are still more accepting of alcohol and alcohol addiction for these reasons:

Alcohol is legal

One of the biggest reasons alcohol is socially more acceptable than other drugs is legalization. The legal aspect makes alcohol more accessible than other drugs. It also gives people the impression that it's safe. And with the availability and normalization, young adults are more inclined to try alcohol.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reveals that 70% of high school students will have tried alcohol by the time they’re seniors. And this is primarily due to easy access – at home and in the marketplace.

Alcohol has been around for centuries

Alcohol has always been there and has been part of people’s traditions, culture, and history. Since time immemorial, it has been used in parties, celebrations, agreements, etc. So, society is sort of wired to believe that alcohol should be a part of such occasions.

Alcohol is part of the culture

In addition to having history on its side, alcohol is seen as an excellent taste for pairing foods, like pizza and beer or wine and cheese. In fact, in countries like France and Italy, wine is an integral part of religious ceremonies and mealtimes.

In other parts of the world, alcohol serves as a statement of affiliation, a label defining the nature of social events or situations, or an indicator of social status. People don’t consider alcohol dangerous because they feel they can control the amount they take. Some even assume that alcohol only harms serious drinkers or those who drink the cheap stuff. But this is not true.

Assuming that alcohol is less harmful than other drugs

Some people believe that alcohol is safe and not as harmful as other drugs like cocaine, meth, or heroin. While this might be true, alcohol is known to cause serious side effects like impaired judgment, insomnia, mental health issues, etc. Not only that. It also causes addiction, with statistics revealing that about 300 million people worldwide have alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Alcohol is responsible for 1 in every 20 (or 5.3%) deaths globally.

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Alcohol is widely advertised

Alcoholic beverages are widely advertised on all media. From magazines to billboards and televisions to online, it’s hard to miss an alcohol commercial on any given day. The constant advertising embeds alcohol in our minds, making it seem like a normal part of our lives. Add that to endless drinking songs that play on the radio, and you begin to understand why alcohol is the most widely abused substance in the US.

Sadly, the exposure and availability lead young adults to experiment with alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals that about 5,000 people under the age of 21 years die because of underage drinking every year. This includes approximately:

Signs you Might Have a Problem With Alcohol

Like many people, you probably assume that an occasional glass of wine or beer at mealtimes or special occasions is harmless. But drinking any amount of alcohol can cause unwanted health issues. Here are some short- and long-term health problems associated with alcohol.

Short-term effects

Temporary effects may include:

Long-term effects

At a personal level, heavy drinking can lead to the development of long-term health conditions like:

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Alcohol use is also known to cause a range of health care concerns like:

Risk Factors for Alcohol use Disorder

Here are some factors that may increase your chances of experiencing AUD:

Finding Treatment

If you or someone close to you is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, it’s best to seek treatment. Untreated addiction can stop your life in its tracks. AUD is a progressive disease whose effects and severity worsen over time without treatment.

The good news is that there are different treatment programs and therapy sessions designed to help you stop drinking and lead a sober life. Don’t let substance abuse cripple your life. Get the help you need today.

Using more than one drug at a time is dangerous, yet people still experiment with various drugs. Most drug combinations intensify the effects of each individual drug making them more dangerous than they were before. 

Combining substances, whether illicit or prescription drugs may result in drug overdose, and in some cases, death. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, mixing drugs can change the way an active ingredient works. It can amplify the ingredient’s effect on the body, make it less effective or have other unexpected results.

Some popular drug combinations that kill are:

·     Gray death.

·     Alcohol and benzodiazepines.

·     Heroin and cocaine.

·     MDMA and magic mushrooms.

Let’s look at these popular drug combinations in detail.

Gray death

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This is a lethal drug combination that is gaining popularity at a very high rate among the youth. It consists of different varieties of opioids such as:

·     The powerful painkiller fentanyl

·     An animal tranquilizer carfentanil

·     Heroin

·     U-47700 a synthetic opioid popularly known as “Pink”.

The combination resembles gravel or concrete mixing powder which can be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed. It is extremely dangerous even in small dose. In fact, it is so lethal, it can seep through the skin into the bloodstream if handled with bare hands.

Gray death causes a range of side effects like slow breathing, loss of consciousness and heart failure. This lethal combination has caused many opioid overdose deaths. According to the CDC, about 71,000 overdose deaths involved an opioid in 2019. These deaths occurred across the US.

Drug dealers sell the concoction cheaply in the streets, going for as low as $10. The low-price has made it easily accessible leading to an increase in the number of deaths resulting from overdose cases.

Since Gray death is a fairly new combo, most users are unaware of its adverse effects. In order to prevent more deaths from occurring, authorities around the world are creating awareness about the dangers of using this combination and encouraging those already using it to seek medical help.

Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

Mixing drugs and alcohol is dangerous. In addition to running a higher risk of side effects from mixing the two substances, you have a greater chance of overdose and death. That’s why health care providers recommend avoiding this combination.

Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax are central nervous depressants used to treat insomnia, stress and anxiety. They are generally safe when taken as prescribed. Mixing alcohol with benzos not only enhances the effects, but also increases the risk of overdose death. That’s why every warning label on benzo containers caution against mixing the drugs with alcohol. Doctors also instruct their patients not to drink alcohol when taking benzos.

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This combination is also known to cause side effects like:

·     Organ failure

·     Brain damage

·     Unconsciousness

·     Extreme drowsiness

·     Slow breathing, causing insufficient oxygen supply to the brain

·     Increased reduction in cognitive ability

·     Increased risk of developing a substance use disorder

·     Increased potential for unpredictable effects

·     Death

Heroin and Cocaine

This is an injected combo of cocaine and heroin commonly referred to as “speedball”. Both drugs affect the dopaminergic brain process leading to a combined effect. The combination is highly addictive.

Most drug users believe that when you combine heroin and cocaine, they cancel each other’s effects since they have opposing effects. However, this is not the case. When you combine the two drugs, their negative effects of both are amplified. The combo leads to a state of “push-pull” in the body, putting a strain on circulatory and respiratory systems. As a result, your body becomes confused as it is processing two toxic substances which are complete opposite of each other at the same time.

Users who want to have the speedball effect dissolve both drugs in liquid and inject the mixture to achieve an extremely quick and intense high. Cocaine’s high lasts for a short period, while that of heroin lasts much longer. Therefore, those who combine the two drugs use more cocaine to prolong the speedball effect.

Mixing heroin and cocaine increases the risk of drug overdose and death. It may also result in a number of deadly symptoms such as increased heart rate, cardiac arrest, blurred vision and even stroke. Over the years, many people have lost their lives to accidental overdose, with speedball overdose being one of the main causes.

It is important to create awareness on the risks of speed balling and also know how to identify danger signs in users and call for emergency help when the need arises.

 

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MDMA and Magic Mushrooms

Mixing MDMA (ecstasy) and psilocybin mushrooms also known as “Hippie flipping” or “flower flipping” has been in practice for years. Users mix the two so that they can enjoy the synergy of their combined effects. They experience a feel-good high when trippy visuals of mushrooms meet with sensory elevation caused by MDMA.

Since both drugs affect the pleasure centre of the brain, the combined effect impacts the user’s mood and temperament, inducing unusual sensory experiences. The hippie flipping feeling lasts about six hours although some users have reported feeling mild effects a day or two after.

There is a high risk of overdose and even death when mixing MDMA and Magic mushroom. MDMA can cause serotonin to be produced in the brain leading to increased heart rate, high blood pressure, muscle cramping and high temperatures. However, these effects vary based on factors such as the user’s personality and mood, age and health status.

Conclusion

People that use these lethal drug combinations may be unaware of the danger involved until it’s too late. There is a need for aggressive education and awareness on the risks of drug interactions, especially among the young people.

When you get addicted to using any of the above drug combinations, it would be best to seek treatment before the drugs significantly affect your physical or mental health.

Professionals will identify the root cause of addiction and take you through an individualized treatment program. You will undergo a medical detox and a rehabilitative inpatient program to help you through the early tough days of recovery. Afterwards, your doctor will refer you to support groups which will help you maintain your sobriety.

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a non-flammable gas used for pain relief and sedation. It was discovered in the 1700s, and since then, medical practitioners, including dentists, use it as an anesthetic to sedate their patients before conducting minor procedures. Other anesthetic gases commonly used in the United States are: isoflurane, halothane, sevoflurane, and desflurane.

Other than medicinal uses, NO2 is used in the automotive industry and food industry. In the automotive industry, some enthusiasts use nitrous oxide to improve engine performance.

With the rising number of drug abuse cases, partygoers discovered nitrous oxide and started using it to feel high or intoxicated. Today, it is one of the most common drugs in the music festival scene. You’ll likely find nitrous oxide at any concert you attend. It goes by several names, including: whippets, nangs, hippy crack, balloons, nitro, buzz bomb, N20, NO and ice cold fatties.

Nitrous oxide is a dissociative anaesthetic. Therefore, it somehow dissociates the mind from the body, giving patients or users a sense of floating. Other common side effects include intense visual hallucinations and distorted perceptions.

This article discusses the various effects of nitrous oxide gas when consumed as a recreational drug. Additionally, we will look at the results of mixing it with other drugs and the risks of inhaling nitrous oxide.

How is nitrous oxide used?

Users commonly inhale NO2 by releasing nitrous gas cartridges (whippets/bulbs) into a different object, e.g., a balloon. Some inhale it directly from the gas cylinders, like a can for whipping cream.

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Nitrous oxide effects

The effect of nitrous oxide abuse varies from person to person. Some of the factors that determine how nitrous oxide affects an individual are:

Inhaling nitrous oxide has both short-term and long-term effects.

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Short term effects

Shortly after an individual inhales the gas from latex balloons or cartridges, they get excited, a rush of euphoria, and a sense of floating. This feeling disappears after a few minutes. Nitrous oxide abuse can cause the following short term effects:

If individuals consume excess nitrous oxide at once, they may experience high blood pressure, temporary loss of consciousness, or even get a heart attack.

Long term effects

Continuous use of nitrous oxide may lead to the following long term effects:

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Results of mixing nitrous oxide with other drugs

At the moment, there’s not enough research to conclude that mixing nitrous oxide with other illegal drugs increases an individual’s health risks. However, there are instances when combining nitrous with other drugs increases results in other additional symptoms.

If you mix nitrous with alcohol, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:

Other than that, mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol may increase one’s risk of accidents and death.

If you mix nitrous oxide with any stimulant, the chances are that the combination will affect your heart rate and breathing rate.

Mixing nitrous oxide with depressants like opiates or benzodiazepines may increase the chances of an overdose due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.

The risks that come with inhaling nitrous oxide

When you inhale nitrous oxide from the tanks or whippets, the gas is extremely cold, approximately -40 degrees Celsius. Therefore, you will likely get frostbite on your lips, nose, throat, and vocal cords.

Additionally, nitrous oxide is generally under constant pressure. Therefore, when you inhale it directly from the containers, they may cause your lung tissues to rupture.

Another risk is that the gas dispensers may explode if they are faulty. If this happens, you may end up hurt in the process.

Crackers used to dispense gas canisters may also result in cold burns on your hands.

Overdose

Since nitrous oxide is a gas, there aren’t any doses associated with overdose or toxicity. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has specific standards on the nitrous oxide amounts that dentists and other medical practitioners should use on patients, specifically for medicinal reasons. The WHO classifies the standards into two categories: chronic exposure and acute exposure.

WHO recommends that medical practitioners use 20 parts per billion (ratio between nitrous oxide and breathable air) for chronic exposures. For acute exposures, they should (ideally) use any amount below 100 parts per billion for one hour.

People who directly inhale nitrous from the containers are more likely to exceed this recommended amount. Consequently, they experience overdose and toxic side effects a few minutes after inhaling the gas.

Some signs of overdose include:

If your loved one shows any signs of overdose, call an ambulance immediately and inform the operator that the individual overdosed on nitrous oxide. If they lose consciousness, place them in the recovery position and ensure that their airway is clear. Check the breathing to ensure they are still breathing. If not, do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

When the paramedics arrive, inform them of the exact drugs your loved one took, especially if they mixed them with other drugs.

Conclusion

There is no safe level of using drugs or alcohol, and nitrous oxide is no exception. There’s always a risk that comes with any drug and alcohol abuse.

Using nitrous oxide can affect your health, finances, work, relationships, school, and other aspects of your life. If you notice that nitrous oxide has negatively affected you or your loved one, seek professional help. Contact us today to start your recovery journey. We will help you settle on a treatment center that suits you best.

Having erection trouble from time to time is not necessarily a cause for concern. However, if it happens regularly, it could be a sign of an underlying problem. Impotence can happen due to a range of reasons, including emotional and physical disorders as well as drug abuse. In this article, we’ll focus on the relationship between impotence and drug abuse. 

What is impotence?

Impotence happens when you are unable to achieve an erection, keep an erection, or orgasm consistently. It’s used synonymously with erectile dysfunction (ED) and may be as a result of factors like: 

According to the Urology Care Foundation, impotence is a common disorder affecting about 30 million male adults in the United States. And while its risk increases with age, the condition can still affect young men.

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The Relationship between Impotence and Drug Abuse

Sexual intercourse is an important part of any couple’s life. If a man cannot get or maintain an erection due to psychological, emotional, or physical issues, he might end up with anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, or even depression. In the long run, this could lead to relationship issues. Unfortunately, when left unresolved, the man might turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with the psychological effects.

Many studies have shown a close relationship between substance use disorder and health conditions as well as mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse puts it, substance use disorders co-occur at high prevalence with mental illness.

But that’s not the only way impotence and drug use are related. As it turns out, drug use can also cause impotence. Men who abuse drugs or alcohol are at an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.

A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that 36.4% of male drug abusers could not achieve or maintain an erection. According to the study, men who abuse substances have more chances of experiencing ED and difficulty reaching orgasm than those who don’t.

How different drugs cause erectile dysfunction

There are cases where drugs help with erectile dysfunction – like when a doctor prescribes Viagra or Alprostadil for ED. When used correctly, these drugs help increase the sexual desire or blood flow, allowing one to get and maintain an erection and ejaculate. But sometimes, people with erectile dysfunction might be tempted to use more drugs to prolong the pleasure or improve performance. This can worsen the situation and also lead to other issues. 

Still on drugs, some people use recreational drugs like cocaine or methamphetamines to induce “uncontrollable lust” or “sexual frenzy.” But the use of these drugs is linked to unsafe or high-risk sexual behaviors. Besides, a majority of stimulant users find that neither of these drugs enhances their sexuality. Let’s look at how different drugs cause impotence.

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Prescription drugs and impotence

Prescription drugs like antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, and chemo drugs can help treat different conditions. However, they can also affect blood circulation, hormones, and nerves, leading to ED or increasing the risk of ED. So, if you are having a hard time getting or maintaining an erection while taking prescription drugs, it’s best to talk to your doctor for further assessment. Common prescription drugs that list ED as a potential side effect include: 

Prescription drugs cause ED differently. Chemo drugs can damage parts of the nervous system, including those that control erections. On the other hand, blood pressure drugs may prevent the penis’ smooth muscle from relaxing, causing blood not to reach it. Some antihistamines, heart disease drugs, opioids, and antiandrogens decrease or block testosterone, decreasing interest in sex. 

Illegal drugs and impotence

Illegal or recreational drugs tend to affect body functioning and can lead to ED. Amphetamines, nicotine, cocaine, and heroin are great examples of illegal drugs that cause erectile function issues. These drugs damage blood vessels and can also restrict blood flow to the penis. Like prescription drugs, illegal drugs also cause ED differently. 

Opioid addiction or prolonged use, for instance, can cause androgen deficiencies and menstrual cycle abnormalities, thereby causing sexual issues. Opioids can also alter the functioning of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal pathways (HPG), which regulates sex hormones production and leads to testosterone deficiencies in men and women. 

Cocaine, on the other hand, is a stimulant that inhibits the uptake of norepinephrine and dopamine. Initial use may induce sexual arousal and improve ED. But prolonged use lowers sexual desire and erectile function and causes delayed ejaculation/orgasm. This effect tends to worsen when cocaine is taken with alcohol or other psychoactive substances.

Alcohol and impotence

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Alcohol consumption tends to increase sexual desire and confidence with sexual partners. However, when taken in large amounts, alcohol impairs erection, decreases sexual arousal, and reduces one’s ability to orgasm. Long-term use of alcohol affects various organ systems, leading to all types of sexual dysfunction in men. 

Alcohol has an inhibitory effect on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. When consumed, it limits the production of gonadotropin, causing hypogonadism. It also suppresses testosterone production, causing low libido and quick or delayed ejaculation. 

Can the Negative Sexual Side Effects of Drug Abuse Be Reversed? 

Continuous usage of illicit drugs has long-term effects on the sexual functioning of males. A study analyzed 905 men to check gauge the long-term effects of drug abuse on sexual performance. It focused on four areas, namely: sexual desire, sexual arousal, orgasm, and sexual satisfaction.

Of the 905, 549 had an addiction, while 356 were controls. The men in the addiction group had impaired sexual performance even after one year of staying clean compared to 356 men included as controls.

Sadly, prolonged use of drugs like cocaine can cause permanent sexual side effects. The best way to prevent such sexual issues is to quit abusing drugs. But quitting cold turkey won’t work either. It’s, therefore, a good idea to seek professional help with these. Treatment facilities exist to help people like you (or your loved one) quit abusing drugs. 

The relationship between drugs and music goes way back in history. Several historic hymns sung by sailors glamorize drinking alcohol and other contentious activities.

Most people started paying attention to the relationship between music and drugs in the 1930s when jazz musicians based in the United States started allowing their fans to take the music they loved home with them.

Since people had ample time to listen to music, they started noticing how musicians refer to drugs in their songs. Consequently, they started having discussions on the same.

In the 1970s, U.S. President Richard Nixon launched a controversial campaign dubbed 'war on drugs' after parents raised concerns that musicians referred to every kind of illicit drug in their music and encouraged listeners to use them.

Listening to music is an enjoyable pastime for most people. You can easily access free music on various apps. Music stimulates the auditory cortex, the part of the brain responsible for music. It is known to improve one’s mood, reduce anxiety, ease pain, reduce depression, and make one more alert, among several other benefits.

Different genres of music have been associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Most modern musicians, including Kottonmouth Kings, Jay-Z, Tech N9ne, and Eminem, refer to drug use in their lyrics. Since several musicians refer to drugs in different types of music, there are concerns that famous artists who have produced popular music, and other genres might contribute to the rising addiction rates.

In this article, we will discuss the music genres that have been associated with drug use over the years. Let's dive in.

Jazz


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For the longest time, jazz music and jazz musicians have been linked to drug abuse. Between the 1940s and 1950s, drug abuse in the jazz community was at an ultimate high. Despite other economic and social factors that influenced it, most people in the jazz community accepted narcotic use.

At the time, jazz musicians who were addicted justified cocaine, morphine, and heroin use. They claimed that they used drugs to enhance their performance and creativity. Renowned jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Chet Baker used narcotics right before their performances.

Drug use prematurely ended or sidetracked the careers of some talented jazz musicians. Charlie Parker's drug use  is well documented. He battled heroin addiction, alcoholism, liver cirrhosis, ulcers, debt, mental illness, suicide attempts, and broken marriages throughout his adult life.

Most people blamed Parker for causing widespread heroin addiction & mental health issues among jazz musicians. Parker eventually died in 1955 due to the long-term effects of drug abuse. 

Some jazz musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and Clifford Brown avoided narcotic use despite people associating jazz with it. They tried to set a good example for others.

Rock & Roll 


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Most people tend to closely associate rock and roll music with substance abuse. Many rock n roll hits have drug references, and a few musicians have had to check into rehab to battle addiction. This trend has been ongoing for several decades.

Note that a good number of successful rock 'n' roll musicians don't live long, prosperous lives. The reason is that for many, substance abuse defines their lifestyle. They use illicit drugs while recording hits, before live performances, and during shows.

Rock 'n' roll musicians who abuse drugs claim that the drugs help them improve their performances and numb pain. Unfortunately, they have to deal with dire consequences later on.

Jimi Hendrix , a renowned guitarist in music history, also ended up having complications as a result of drug use. In 1970, Hendrix confessed that he had abused LSD, cocaine, and marijuana. On 18th September 1970, he overdosed on barbiturates and died of complications resulting from the overdose. His music career and his life were cut short.

Rap


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Most talented hip-hop artists grew up in low-income areas where drug use is prevalent. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of them make drug references in their music, sometimes in positive ways. A study revealed that drug references in rap music increased from 11% to 19% in two decades.

Several decades ago, most rappers only referred to alcohol and ‘having a good time’ in their music. However, when Schooly D  joined the industry, he romanticized drug use, a criminal lifestyle, and prostituting women.

Since he was very influential, other rappers also started incorporating drug references in their lyrics. Most rappers mentioned marijuana in their music, but a few mentioned other hard drugs. Consequently, drug use quickly spread throughout the rap community.

A few musicians like Eminem and Afroman attempted to address the negative impacts of drug use on musicians’ lives. Additionally, the rap community in general acknowledged the negative impact of drugs after promising rappers like Mac Miller started dying due to overdoses.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM)


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Electronic dance music gained popularity in the mid-1990s. It is a diverse music culture that attracts people from all walks of life. Most people claim that there is a spiritual aspect to EDM, hence the need to use drugs. 

EDM lovers like communal dance parties, music festivals, and raves. The EDM pulsing beat, colored lights, and fans in a prolonged state of euphoria rubbing against each other typically describe what EDM concerts are like.

Ecstasy (MDMA) is the drug of choice among EDM musicians and fans. Some also use amphetamine. Both drugs complement the repetitive, fast music. Additionally, they give users feelings of pleasure through dance and movement. 

Lindsay Lohan, an actress formally known for partying and her love for EDM, recently acknowledged that EDM concerts always left her feeling burned out because she used pills and cocaine.

Conclusion

In general, music allows artists to express themselves and talk about their troubles, and drug abuse seems to be one of the issues they struggle with. Lately, musicians have become vocal about issues related to drug use.

Whether or not music plays a role in encouraging drug addiction is still a controversial debate. However, there is no doubt that specific genres of music are related to drug use.

If you are struggling with an addiction  you should consider seeking medical advice and treatment.  Drug abuse has adverse effects and can potentially take a toll on your health. Seek help before it’s too late.

There is a strong connection between mental health and substance use disorders. Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 31.3% of adults with any mental illness were binge drinkers compared to 25.3% of adults with no mental illness. Also, 49.4% of adults with mental illness used illegal drugs, compared to only 15.7% who had no mental illness. When someone struggles with a mental illness, like depression and a substance abuse problem at the same time, they have a co-occurring disorder or dual-diagnosis.

Roughly 9.5 million American adults reported having a dual diagnosis in the 2019 NSDUH survey on Drug Use and Health. The reason is that people with mental health issues like depression turn to alcohol or drugs as they try to cope with sad feelings. On the flip side, depressant drugs and alcohol can increase feelings of fatigue and sadness, and people can experience depression as the effects of drugs wear off or as they face the impact of addiction.

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Which one comes first – addiction or depression?

Whenever addiction and depression are discussed together, the question becomes, which one comes first. The basic addiction disease model dictates that substance misuse changes the brain so that it can’t self-regulate. For many, depression serves as a gateway to addiction. For others, substance abuse can lead to depression. Either way, these two disorders always seem to co-occur.

Depression and substance abuse

Everyone has bad days, whether it’s because of loss, relationships, family, or workplace issues. Most people shake the feelings off and get on with their lives. But for people with depression, the periods of unhappiness don’t go away. They feel sad, helpless, and worthless for days to weeks. Depression is a severe mental health problem that affects about 10% of adults in the US. Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate the following as risk factors for depression.

People with depression tend to turn to drugs to try to relieve these depressive symptoms. As estimated, one-third of people with major depressive disorder engage in substance abuse as a way to self-medicate to relieve feelings of despair, low self-esteem, and hopelessness. Unfortunately, abusing alcohol and drugs doesn’t resolve these feelings. It only makes them worse. In fact, it can lead to depression symptoms like sadness, hopelessness, lethargy and in some cases, they can turn to acts of self-harm.

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Types of depression

There are many different types of depression. Here are some common examples:

Major depressive disorder (clinical depression)

Major depression is a common type of depression that affects about 7% of people in the US. If untreated, the major depressive disorder can recur throughout the person’s life.

Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)

Persistent depressive disorder is a chronic form of depression that lasts for a year or more. Since it's milder, it’s usually easier to cover with drugs or alcohol. However, the condition may eventually lead to major depressive disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder

As the name implies, seasonal affective disorder is seasonal, mostly happening in winter months. The disorder is diagnosed when someone exhibits the symptoms of depression over three consecutive winters.

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Depression as a gateway to addiction

Depression serves as an entry point into alcohol and drug use. As mentioned earlier, those struggling with depressive disorders turn to substances to escape the symptoms of depression. But drugs don’t do much to help them feel better. If anything, one feels worse once the effects of drugs start to wear off. Yet, the person keeps using it to try to forget their problems. It is like a catch 22. Eventually, their bodies become tolerant and need larger doses to attain the same effects.

At this point, they can’t stop using or reduce intake because of withdrawal symptoms like trembling, nervousness, agitation, cold, sweats, or nausea set in. So they may start feeling sad and guilty because they are abusing drugs. Some try to quit cold turkey. But with the withdrawal symptoms and mental disorder, it’s almost impossible.

Besides, quitting leads to an even stickier situation for those with severe depression. People who’ve been abusing substances for years may have a more pronounced depression when they stop using. It is, therefore, a good idea to seek dual diagnosis treatment that addresses both issues in one go.

Why depression leads to addiction

Depression itself isn’t a cause of substance abuse – but it makes one more susceptible to addiction. The inability to cope with hard feelings and life stressors is one of the causes of depression and addiction. Here are some ways depression may lead to addiction.

Feelings of guilt and shame make one scared to ask for help

People struggling with depression are afraid to ask for help. They fear that people will judge them for their condition, so they choose to keep it to themselves. Again, unlike other medical conditions, it is hard to identify the symptoms of depression. So, even if the person gathers the courage to seek help, they may find it hard to explain what they’re going through. So, most people may turn to substances as a way to cope.

Not knowing its depression

One of the hidden risks of drug use is that mental health issues happen gradually. So, a person might not even realize they have depression. So, they’ll take stimulants to keep up with work or a bottle of wine to try to cheer up. When someone doesn’t know they’re dealing with a mental disorder, they’ll keep up with the unhealthy coping mechanism.

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Being scared of psychiatric drugs

Many people are afraid of taking psychiatric medication, not just because of how others will view them but also because of the “damaging effects.” They are scared that the drugs will change their personality or ability to function and that they might not handle the side effects. So they turn to drugs assuming that they are a safer option. Alcohol and drugs offer instant fixes without the hassle of getting a prescription.

There’s hope for co-occurring disorders

Luckily, dual disorders are treatable. If you or someone close to you is struggling with addiction and depression, it’s a good idea to enroll in a rehab that offers holistic treatment. This way, you won’t have to treat depression or addiction separately.

Dealing with a loved one who abuses alcohol or drugs is one of the greatest struggles that family members can endure. People who abuse drugs might be hard to talk to or might act in frightening or worrying ways. The love and need to bring them safely through their addiction might see loved ones spend money they cannot afford, lie to protect them, say yes even when it’ll destroy them, and have their bodies turn cold with fear from any midnight call.

Understanding drug addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease that causes changes in the brain. According to the American Psychiatric Association, genetics is a for addiction, accounting for about 50% of all cases. Genes determines the extent of risk factor reward one gets when they initially use a substance or engage in specific behaviors and how their body processes alcohol or drugs. The increased need to experience substance or behavior, potentially driven by social, psychological, and environmental factors, can lead to regular exposure to chronic use, resulting in brain changes.

Brain changes fuel substance and behavioral addictions as they increase cravings for activity or drugs and impair the ability to regulate impulse successfully. In some cases, people can also experience withdrawal symptoms when they cannot use drugs or engage in the activity leading to increases in blood pressure.

Common things that addicts do to their loved ones

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·        They lie, not necessarily out of ill intent or malice, but mainly due to their brain’s constant demand for drugs or activities. When a loved one is addicted, their brain’s primitive survival part takes charge. It tells the body it needs the drugs to survive. So the addict will do anything to get the drugs, even lie.

·        They manipulate by shifting guilt and blame for their behavior on someone else. They may promise to get help the next day etc., but fail to follow through. Addicts may also give small confessions of wrongdoing to cover their odd behaviors and lies.

·        They act unpredictably. When they’re high, they’re happy. But when the effects wear off, they get moody because of the side effects. In some cases, though, addicts can be predictable – they’ll commit crimes, steal, and use drugs again even after promising they wouldn’t.

·        They engage in criminal acts because their goal is to satisfy the survival part of their brain. They will steal prescription pills, doctor shop, steal valuable items from the house, lie about self-injury to get prescriptions, shoplift or even inject heroin.

·        They become abusive, as their injured brain may react aggressively to anyone who gets in their way with drugs. When a loved one calls them out on their words, behaviors, or actions, the addict may feel defensive as they lie, shift blame, or manipulate.

Effects of addiction on parents

Most people who struggle with addiction lie and manipulate. They will ask for money, cause fights, isolate and self-harm, or even guilt-trip parents into getting away with their drug use. Sadly, parents, being natural caregivers, may fear saying no even when they know that their kid is lying or manipulating. They fear that their child might harm themselves or do something worse.

Additionally, parents often feel responsible for their child’s addiction and wonder what they did wrong. For example, single-parent may blame themselves for not providing enough balance in the family or not assuming both roles, and so on. Most parents get stuck in constant worry about safety and wellbeing and how they can bring their child back to normalcy. They’re desperate and would spend money, enable the behavior, cover up and basically do anything to try to straighten things up.

Those who suffer the consequences  of addiction include  siblings

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When there’s an addict in the family, parents and guardians tend to focus on them more than other siblings because of the perceived need. This, however, leaves other siblings feeling pushed into the background as anxious parents focus their emotions, time, and finances on getting help for the addicted children. Sibling invisibility may worsen when the addict succumbs to addiction.

So, in the background, sisters and brothers often suffer in silence, feeling alone, ignored, guilty, angry, and scared. They may feel guilty that they cannot help their sister or brother, or blame their parents for not doing enough. They may also be angry that their sibling lies, manipulates, ducks responsibility, steals from them, or even refuses treatment.

Some siblings end up becoming enablers, caretakers, and some try to continue with their lives with little support from struggling parents. They may have to deal with the constant worry of whether the addiction is hereditary and if they’ll end up like their sibling.

Effects of addiction on children

Parental addiction is an adverse childhood experience. Growing up in homes where one or both parents abuse drugs or alcohol negatively impacts a child’s life. Unfortunately, an estimated 8.3 million children under 18 stayed with at least one addicted parent from 2002 to 2007 in the US.

The effects of parental addiction are two-fold:

When parents abuse drugs, they tend to be neglectful. They may delegate their child’s responsibility to someone else, who may end up abusing or neglecting them all the more. This causes children to have fear, anger, confusion, sadness.

They may distrust authority figures because they’ve learned from experience to expect disappointment from parents. Being exposed to parental addiction teaches children that nothing is reliable or stable. It also burdens them with a host of social issues like embarrassment and shame.

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Effects of addiction on family finances

Addiction comes with many costs, including personal and family financial losses. Many addicts will blow through their savings just to get drugs. They’ll then sell family assets, steal or take out loans to sustain their habits.

That’s because addiction impairs the brain and inhibits judgment and self-control, as National Institute on Drug Abuse puts it. Unfortunately, the family almost always ends up bearing the brunt.

Besides, addiction of illegal drugs is known to cause job loss, marital problems, divorce, and criminal charges if the addictive substances are illegal. All these cost money. Patients may need substance use disorder treatment to regain control of their lives, which too is expensive.

The worst part is that some slip to their old habits and end up using again. And as they go deeper into despair and poverty, they resolve to abusing substance, causing a never-ending self-fulfilling cycle.

Increased risks of drug abuse

Medically reviewed studies and data show parental addiction and genetics can make a child more prone to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Children may also get into trouble with the juvenile system or even end up abusing drugs or alcohol earlier. There’s a strong connection between mental illness and substance use disorders. According to the American Society of Addiction, about 50% of people with one disorder will go on to develop the other in at some point.

The risk of drug use and abuse is not limited to children alone. Spouses, parents, and siblings of those who abuse drugs may also turn to use. They may do as a way to self-medicate or escape their problems.

When a loved one abuses alcohol or drugs, everyone suffers. In many cases, family members find themselves overwhelmed with emotions like loneliness, embarrassment, fear, and blame. But the good news is that anyone can overcome addiction, including those who’ve struggled for years.

With the right treatment programs, one can learn how to quit drugs and lead a healthy life. Some programs provide family counseling and health care to help address emotional and psychological issues that arise due to addiction.

 

Struggling With Addiction 2020 © All Rights Reserved
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